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[366a] from fruits of our wrongdoing.1 For if we are just, we shall, it is true, be unscathed by the gods, but we shall be putting away from us the profits of injustice; but if we are unjust, we shall win those profits, and, by the importunity of our prayers, when we transgress and sin, we shall persuade them and escape scot-free. Yes, it will be objected, but we shall be brought to judgement in the world below for our unjust deeds here, we or our children's children. 'Nay, my dear sir,' our calculating friend2 will say, 'here again the rites for the dead3 have much efficacy, and the absolving divinities, [366b] as the greatest cities declare, and the sons of gods, who became the poets and prophets4 of the gods, and who reveal that this is the truth.

“On what further ground, then, could we prefer justice to supreme injustice? If we combine this with a counterfeit decorum, we shall prosper to our heart's desire, with gods and men in life and death, as the words of the multitude and of men of the highest authority declare. In consequence, then, of all that has been said, what possibility is there, Socrates, that any man [366c] who has the power of any resources of mind, money, body, or family should consent to honor justice and not rather laugh5 when he hears her praised? In sooth, if anyone is able to show the falsity of these arguments, and has come to know with sufficient assurance that justice is best, he feels much indulgence for the unjust, and is not angry with them, but is aware that except a man by inborn divinity of his nature disdains injustice, or, having won to knowledge, refrains from it, [366d] no one else is willingly just, but that it is from lack of manly spirit or from old age or some other weakness6 that men dispraise injustice, lacking the power to practise it. The fact is patent. For no sooner does such one come into the power than he works injustice to the extent of his ability. And the sole cause of all this is the fact that was the starting-point of this entire plea of my friend here and of myself to you, Socrates, pointing out how strange it is that of all you [366e] self-styled advocates of justice, from the heroes of old whose discourses survive to the men of the present day, not one has ever censured injustice or commended justice otherwise than in respect of the repute, the honors, and the gifts that accrue from each. But what each one of them is in itself, by its own inherent force, when it is within the soul of the possessor and escapes the eyes of both gods and men, no one has ever adequately set forth in poetry or prose—the proof that the one is the greatest of all evils that the soul contains within itself, while justice is the greatest good.

1 Cf. Verres' distribution of his three years' spoliation of Sicily, Cicero In C. Verrem actio prima 14 (40), and Plato Laws 906 C-D, Lysias xxvii. 6.

2 His morality is the hedonistic calculus of the Protagoras or the commercial religion of “other-wordliness.”

3 For these τελεταί cf. 365 A.

4 Or rather “mouthpieces.”

5 Aristophanes Clouds 1241.

6 Cf. Gorgias 492 A.

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